Turkey. Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said in a
speech to EU ambassadors in January that Turkey would
continue to push for political reform to join the EU and
that Turkey did not accept a partial membership that some EU
countries flagged for. In June negotiations started. They
include a total of 35 negotiating chapters on how Turkey
should adapt to the EU. Right from the start, they cracked
worryingly because Cyprus demanded Turkish recognition. The
EU urged Turkey to continue its reforms and not to try to
tie in the demand that the EU lift its economic blockade of
the Turkish Cypriot part of Cyprus before opening its ports
and airports for the EU country of Cyprus. During the EU
Presidency of Finland from 1 July, feverish diplomatic
activity took place to resolve the dispute. At the end of
November, the European Commission recommended EU countries
to freeze negotiations, citing Turkey's unwillingness to
open its ports and airports for Cyprus transport. A total of
eight chapters were proposed to be closed until further
notice. on free movement of goods, agricultural and rural
development, transport policy and customs union. At the last
minute, Turkey offered to open a port and airport for
Cyprus, which was welcomed but considered insufficient.
Turkey was also not heard for its demand that the blockade
against Turkish Cypriots be lifted. The issue of the EU's
relationship with Turkey seemed to take over the final EU
summit in Brussels on December 14-15. However, the issue was
raised since the EU's foreign ministers agreed a few days
earlier to freeze the negotiations.
CountryAAH, Pope Benedict XVI visited Turkey in late November. It was
seen as an opportunity for the head of the Catholic Church
to repair the relationship with the Muslims after an
attentive speech in September that angered many Muslims as
he quoted a Byzantine emperor's critical words about Islam.
The visit was preceded by some protests. In addition to
meetings with the head of the Greek Orthodox Church,
Bartolomeos met the Pope's Prime Minister Erdoğan and the
President of Turkey.
In the financial area, there was some concern during the
year. In March, President Ahmet Necdet Sezer halted the
government's proposal for a new governor, as Adnan
B邦y邦kdeniz, head of an Islamic bank, was deemed
"inappropriate". Vetot created nervousness in the financial
markets, but in April President Durmus¸ Yılmaz accepted.
Parliament adopted a new pension and health insurance law
in April. The retirement age was raised to 65 while the
pensions were lowered. The measures were aimed at keeping
public expenditure in line with requirements of the
International Monetary Fund (IMF).
In June, the central bank raised the repo rate for the
third time in a month and said it could not meet the
inflation target of 5%.
Several trials were held against journalists, writers and
academics who discussed the position of minorities. One
concerned five journalists who objected to the decision to
set up a conference in the fall of 2005 on the mass murder
of more than one million Armenians in 1915-17.
In January, the indictment was dropped against the 2006
Nobel Laureate in Literature, Orhan Pamuk. He was one of 18
writers, according to the International PEN Club, who was
prosecuted under the disputed Article 301 which prohibits
the "insult of Turkish".
In March, EU Enlargement Commissioner Olli Rehn called on
Turkey to rapidly improve the Kurds' economic and cultural
rights. The statement came after the city of Diyarbakır in
the southeast was shaken by violent clamor between Kurdish
youths and Turkish security forces. At least seven people
were killed on March 28 at the funeral of fourteen PKK
guerrillas killed on March 25.
The Turkish Human Rights Foundation TIHV reported on the
continued incidence of torture. In 2005, at least 400 people
were tortured. The assaults often took place outside the
police detention center and prisons to make it more
difficult to detect.
In February, a military prosecutor prosecuted 29 soldiers
for the mistreatment of a 20-year-old conscript in Adana.
A judge was killed and four injured on May 17 when an
Islamist lawyer opened fire in Turkey's highest
administrative court. The drama in Ankara was said to have
been triggered after the court decided not to promote a
female teacher who wore a veil on her way to work. The
following day demonstrated tens of thousands for a secular
A breakaway group from the Kurdish PKK guerrillas, who
called themselves the Kurdistan Liberation Hawks (TAK),
conducted a series of blast attacks. The deed hit, among
other things. Istanbul as well as tourist resorts such as
Antalya and Marmaris. In April, TAK urged tourists to avoid
Turkey. The death claimed sixteen dead while about 100 were
injured, including a Swedish-Turkish woman in August.
Mehmet Ali Agca who tried to assassinate Pope John Paul
II in 1981 was returned to prison in January after the
Supreme Court overturned a lower court's decision to release
him. He received a reduced sentence for two robberies
carried out in Turkey.
Admiral Ilhami Erdil, commander of the Navy during the
late 1990s to 2002, was sentenced Feb. 7 to three years in
prison for corruption. On the same day, Erdog˘an reported
its own assets.
In January, four children were reported to have died in
the aggressive form of bird flu, H5N1, in eastern Turkey. In
February, bird flu was confirmed in 39 cities, while bird
flu was feared in another 25 cities and some 60 villages.
More than 1.8 million domestic birds were slaughtered.
The contemporary history of Turkey
Since the establishment of the Republic of Turkey in
1923, major economic, political and cultural changes have
taken place. The changes outlined in this article range from
state-centered economics to neoliberalism, from state-run,
secularist ideology to state-backed conservative Islam, and
from a society of one secular economic and cultural elite to
the emergence of a parallel "Islamic" middle and upper
The Turkish Republic began as a one-party state, where
Mustafa Kemal Atatürk's CHP (Republican People's Party) had
all power. This party sprang from the military resistance
movement that managed to defeat the western occupation
forces in 1921. It stood for a state-centered modernization
ideology, where secularism and nationalism were central.
This modernist ideology is often called Kemalism,
after Atatürk's real last name, Kemal. The military was
given the role of guardians of the secular constitution, and
a large degree of independence was granted within the state,
including as owner of civil industrial companies. The
economy was state-centered, with an emphasis on
industrialization and self-sufficiency. In the 1980s,
leaders began to abandon this centralized economic policy,
and the strict control over Islamic practices and
organizations was softened. It may therefore be natural to
start contemporary history in 1980.
The 1980 coup
After a decade of strong political polarization and
violence between radical groups on the right and the left,
the military did a coup in 1980. This coup coincides roughly
with the introduction of history's first structural
adjustment program under the auspices of the International
Monetary Fund and the World Bank. This program, introduced
during a period of state of emergency and military rule, led
to deregulation and export orientation of the economy. These
measures were easy to implement because no political
organizations or trade unions were allowed.
The military coup makers began to portray Islam in a more
positive light, in what they called "Turkish-Islam
synthesis". The concept and thought came from right-wing
organizations. It was an attempt to promote Islam as a
conservative and moral "social glue" against what they saw
as the threat of communism. This led to compulsory religious
education in the school, more mosques and larger budgets for
the religious directorate, as well as more tolerance for
Islamic welfare organizations and religiously oriented
bureaucrats. What was being promoted was Islam as a private
faith with good moral implications, while Islamic parties
and institutions were still banned or strictly controlled.
Thus, they did not want to strengthen political Islam, but
Islam as a personal and conservative conviction. The fact
that the religious party of later Prime Minister Erbakan was
not allowed in the first election after the coup illustrates
this. The coup maker's attempt to use personal and moral
Islam as social glue was not entirely foreign to the
republic's early ideologues, which in part tried to
"rationalize" Islam to incorporate it as a culturally
Prime Minister Turgut Özal of the Conservative Motherland
Party (ANAP) came to power in 1983, at the first election
after the military coup in 1980. Prior to the coup, he had
been central to the planning of the structural adjustment
program. He introduced several deregulatory and privatizing
reforms in the industrial banking and finance sectors. He
represented wealthy industrialists from Inner Anatolia, as
well as religious conservatives and moderate Islamists.
Özal became central to the softening of the state's
secularist politics in several ways. He gave privileges to
Islamic banks and allowed the use of charitable gifts for
religious purposes. He himself was known to be a practicing
Muslim, belonged to a Naqshbandi Sufi fraternity
(which was and is formally banned) in Istanbul (İskenderpaşa
Cemaati), and in 1988 became the first Turkish
president to go on a pilgrimage to Mecca.